Earl 'the Pearl' Strickland began playing pool at the tender age of nine and after much devoted practice he entered his first professional tournament at around age 15 turning full-time professional only five years later.Earl Strickland has many times won the prestigious Player of the Year Award and his illustrious career has included five wins at the U.S. Open 9 ball Championships - more than any other professional pool player in the world and three WPA World 9 ball Championships. In fact Strickland is the only WPA World 9 ball Champion ever to win this prestigious event two years in a row. He is also invariably invited to compete for the USA against Europe in the annual Mosconi Cup tournament.
Strickland is known for his volatile temperament and broke his own cue, smashing it against the floor in frustration after missing a shot during a match against Thomas Engert in the Mosconi cup although he did in fact go on to win the match 7-4 despite the rowdiness of the crowd who certainly were not on his side. Earl has however shown a different side to him on occasions and after heated arguments with referee Michaela Tabb during a 2003 World Championship game with Steve Davis, he bought the referee flowers by way of an apology which he brought to his next game. Because of this unpredictable temperament and his equally unpredictable style of play, the crowds inevitably will surround his table at major pool events. Achievements in 9 ball
In fact it was in 1983 at Lake Tahoe that a victory first brought Earl Strickland into national prominence. At Caesars Palace Pro Billiard Classic in Las Vegas in 1984, Strickland was said to have played "like a polished gem." He was clearly becoming a dominant force on the tournament trail and recognized as a future world champion also very notable for his speed of play. Onlookers said he had the "skill, endurance, patience, temperament, and tenacity of which champions are made. Because of his dominance, Strickland was named The National Billiard News Player of the Year in 1984.Strickland is said to have once run 11 consecutive racks against Nick Mannino during the first PCA tournament in 1996 where there was a stipulation that anyone who could break and run 10 racks would win US$1,000,000. Apparently Strickland's last shot was a tough nine-ball combination in which Earl showed no fear and "fired it in with authority" to win the prize giving him another nickname- that of ' the million dollar man'